We have been talking a lot about happiness and ease (sukha) and dissatisfaction (dukkha) lately in class— how we tend to bring opinions and ideas to poses and our practice from the past.

We tend to move into a posture with the past in mind. We might think, “I love this pose!” Or we might dread it. In fact, we are often so busy thinking about our past experience with the form, that we miss the moment. We miss the experience of the posture this time around— instead of meeting it with curiosity and an open mind, we layer it our old opinions and ideas.

Yoga is a practice of non-clinging (aparigraha): not clinging to our ideas, our emotions, our thoughts and opinions. They don’t define us.

“In the absolute sense, pleasure and suffering,
subject and object,
are nothing more than the space of
profound consciousness.”
~Daniel Odier, Yoga Spandakarika, Stanza 5

This is one of the reasons why I think yoga is such an incredible practice. We get to ‘practice’ in the truest sense. Time and time again we get to widen the gaps between thoughts, and as Daniel Odier states, “notice the unity of the uninterrupted flow of consciousness.”
Pleasure and suffering are a part of the same wave of energy, just on different ends. They are labels, sign posts and markers, but nevertheless part of one stream.

“Discriminating between positive and negative movement only dims the power of the wave that carries us unceasingly to the finite and the infinite and reconnects them in an ecstatic harmony.” ~Daniel Odier

Working with this text for a few years now, I have seen my practice evolve and my heart soften. When waves of emotion rise, I can ride them with more ease. I can taste the reconnection, or more precisely, I can see the connection that has always been present between the extremes of the heart and mind.

In this practice of yoga we get to practice recognition— seeing our own true nature. Let’s step onto our mats together, and dive in.

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Emily Perry MTOM, L.Ac., E-RYT-500 is a Yoga Teacher, Acupuncturist, & Herbalist based in Santa Cruz, California. A student of yoga and meditation since 1994, and of Chinese Medicine since 2000, she teaches Vinyasa Flow Yoga, mindfulness and Holistic Health. Weaving together five element theory, energetic alignment, non-dual philosophy and Classical Chinese Medicine, her vinyasa flow classes explore energetics, mudra, chanting, and pranayama. She supports Heifer International, Water.org, and Women for Women International. Emily teaches workshops, retreats, trainings, and at festivals around the world. Listen to her podcast, + connect with her online at www.emilyperryyoga.com

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